Daily Archives: September 20, 2011

Embarrassing Defeats and Some Lessons From History

“So apart from losing 0-4, having two men sent off and one taken off injured, everything went according to plan at White Hart Lane then! It was a sobering defeat and awful performance alright, the sort we don’t get too often, mercifully, and on a par both quantitively and qualitively with the worst of them. But not unprecedented. And where can you look for context, for solace, other than history? How often do these heavy defeats happen and what can we learn from them? How were we doing at the time they happened – in a trough already or did they come out of the blue? – and what effect did they have on us subsequently? Can we find any comfort from heavy defeats in the past?” Tomkins Times


Fighting A Losing Battle With Calcio Moderno – This Is A.S. Lodigiani

“There’s not much open of a Sunday morning in Carpineto Romano. It’s a tiny little hill town about 50 miles from Rome, which sits high above the former malaria-infested marshland that killed Anita Garibaldi and where Mussolini constructed the nightmarish town of Latina, a Fascist township so fucked up it even has a local office for the separatist Lega Nord. Even in my neighbourhood the shutters go down, and stay down, everywhere on Saturday nights, bar supermarkets and the odd breakfast bar, so it was a relief to be able to buy a pack of fags and a couple of bottles of water, especially after the day I’d had. As I walked back down towards the carabinieri barracks the local football team eyed me up from across the street, and as I got to the locked gate Valerio was there, hands outstretched through the bars and waiting for his cigarettes.” In Bed With Maradona

Brazil in mood for World Cup hurry up

“No doubt about the highlight of last week’s friendly international 0-0 draw between Argentina and Brazil – the moment in the second half when Brazil striker Leandro Damiao produced his speciality ‘lambreta’ dribble. Cutting in from the right he ran over the ball, and then flicked it with his right foot against his left, in such a way that it did not just loop over his bewildered marker, but also fell on an ideal trajectory for him to continue his run and meet it with a lobbed volley, probably an intended cross, that looped off the far post.” BBC – Tim Vickery

Napoli 3-1 Milan: Counter-attack and Cavani hat-trick

Vittore Carpaccio – The Baptism of the Selenites
“Hat-trick specialist Edinson Cavani bagged another as Napoli confirmed their title potential. Walter Mazzarri played what his strongest XI – Andrea Dossena came in for Juan Zuniga from the side that drew with Manchester City. Max Allegri has something of an injury crisis, summed up by an extremely inexperienced bench. Daniele Bonera played at left-back, and Antonio Cassano partnered Pato upfront. Milan took the lead through a superb Alberto Aquilani header, but the pattern of the game was this: Milan get possession, run out of ideas in the final third, Napoli win the ball, break quickly, and score.” Zonal Marking

PSV 2-2 Ajax: PSV press, Ajax fight back
“PSV twice took the lead by exploiting a clear weakness in the Ajax defence, but the away side managed to claim a point. Fred Rutton made two changes from PSV’s previous league game. Wilfred Bouma and Zakaria Labyad dropped out, with Timothy Derijck and Tim Matavz coming in. Frank de Boer was without Miralem Sulejmani and chose to bring Vurnon Anita into the side as the holding player. This match was open and entertaining, largely because there were two attack-minded midfields who wanted to play the ball rather than win it back.” Zonal Marking

Rubin 2-3 Zenit: Rubin blow a two-goal lead thanks to Spalletti’s Plan B
“Danny scored twice to give Zenit St Petersburg an important win over Rubin Kazan. Kurban Berdyev changed things around after the previous week’s defeat to FC Krasnodar, with Obafemi Martins and Nelson Valdez both dropping out. In came Vladimir Dyadyun upfront, with Gokdeniz Karadeniz on the right. Luciano Spalletti made widespread changes after an embarrassing collapse against Lokomotiv Moscow, with four players coming into the defence and midfield, though the forward trio remained the same.” Zonal Marking

U-S-A!: A Conversation

“EDITOR’S NOTE: Someone (me) once said (just now, for real) that American soccer is a question in search of a question mark. But who asked that question, and what other punctuation might it contain? To find out, we deployed two brilliant young sportswriters, the latest in electronic-communications technology, and the copy-paste function. Here’s what happened.” Run of Play